Halacha for Sunday 28 Iyar 5779 June 2 2019

The Laws of the Second Day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora

Since preceding every Yom Tov many questions arise regarding the observance of the second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora (Jews living outside of Israel), we will therefore try to discuss briefly some of the key laws regarding this matter.

Our Sages enacted that outside of Israel, two days of Yom Tov must be observed and this is what is called the “second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora,” as it is only observed outside of Israel.

Whatever is prohibited on the first day of Yom Tov is prohibited on the second as well, besides for issues connected to a person suffering from a non-life-threatening illness, i.e. whereas on the first day of Yom Tov, a Jew may only heal the ill person through instructing a non-Jew to follow certain medical procedures, on the second day of Yom Tov, the Jew may implement certain procedures for the sick person that are only prohibited by a rabbinic injunction on his own (since this is fairly uncommon, we shall not go into more detail). Additionally, there is another distinction between the first and second days of Yom Tov regarding burial of a deceased person. Whereas on the first day of Yom Tov, a Jew may not tend to the proper burial necessities of the deceased, rather a non-Jew must be enlisted for this purpose, nevertheless, on the second day of Yom Tov a Jew may tend to the burial provisions on his own. (The wording of our Sages for this law is, “The Sages treated the second day of Yom Tov as a regular, mundane day (weekday) regarding a deceased person.”)

When Hagaon Harav Yom Tov Lipman, author of “Tosafot Yom Tov,” passed away, many marriage offers were proposed to his widow from some of the greatest scholars and wealthy businessmen in the city, yet, she would reject them all claiming that none could fill the place of her first husband. Sometime later, a certain rabbi in the city, incidentally also name Yom Tov like her first husband, offered himself as a perspective marriage partner to her. He claimed that although he may not be as important as the “first Yom Tov” (reference to her later husband), he still retains the status of the “second Yom Tov of the Diaspora.” She sent him back a wise message that “The Sages treated the second [day of] Yom Tov as a mundane [week]day regarding a deceased person” (reference to her late husband).

This that we have said that there are certain distinctions between the two days of Yom Tov only applies all other holidays besides Rosh Hashanah; however, regarding Rosh Hashanah which is observed for two days even in Israel, the second day of Yom Tov is treated exactly like the first and both days are viewed as one long day and there is no distinction between them.

If one who lives in Israel travels abroad to outside of Israel, one may not perform work on the second day of Yom Tov, besides for some things which are permissible, as we shall, G-d willing, delineate in the next Halacha.

Regarding the order for prayer on the second day of Shavuot, the seventh day of Pesach, and the ninth of Sukkot (which are regular weekdays in Israel and regular weekday prayers are recited), if an Israeli resident happens to be outside of Israel, he must don Tefillin and read Keri’at Shema at home, by himself, and afterwards, he should wear Yom Tov clothing and go pray with the congregation in the synagogue (where he should recite a regular weekday’s prayer service). When the congregation recites the Hallel, he may recite it with them, albeit the blessing should be recited without Hashem’s name; it is also preferable that he recite only the abridged version of the Hallel as is recited on Rosh Chodesh. When the congregation begins to recite the Mussaf prayer, he should hold his Siddur and recite some chapters of Tehillim (Psalms) so as it appears like he is also joining the congregation in the Mussaf prayer.

Even if there are enough Israeli residents to form a Minyan and pray a regular weekday prayer, they should not organize such a Minyan; rather, they should pray with the rest of the congregation as we have explained above. If, however, the second day of Yom Tov falls out on Shabbat, they may in fact organize a Minyan for their own Shabbat prayers.

On the second day of Yom Tov, one may wash one’s entire body in the shower at one’s home with water that was heated in an electric/gas boiler on the first day of Yom Tov.

In the next Halacha, we shall discuss the things that an Israeli resident who happens to be outside of Israel is permitted to do on the second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora.

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